NEW DELHI: The Uttar Assembly elections cast heavy spell on the Lok Sabha debate on motion of vote of thanks to the President Pranab Mukherjee's address to the joint session of Parliament, as the BJP fielded two of its heavyweight leaders from the state to defend the government, who sought to heat up the political temperature on minority appeasement and surgical strike, even while the Opposition launched scathing attack on the ruling NDA over demonetization.
The BJP fielded Union Minister for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma, who is seen as party’s emerging Brahmin face in the poll-bound state, besides being the principal campaigner in the western parts of UP going to polls in the first phase, to initiate the discussion. The second lead speaker from the BJP was Virendra Singh Mast, Lok Sabha MP from Bhadoi in UP and also head of the farmers’ wing of the party, to send out a strong message to the Poorvanchal areas.
Staying on course the BJP’s apparent script to reap dividend out of the polarization in the western UP, which accounts for about 140 of the total 403 seats in UP, Sharma raked up the alleged minority appeasement by both the ruling Samajwadi Party and the BSP. He also hailed the September 29 surgical strike against the terror launch-pads in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir with a clear target to appeal to the large number of families having personnel in the Armed Forces from the western region.
The Congress also rode on the election pitch playing out in the Lok Sabha, as the leader of the party Mallikarjuna Kharge turned his focus on demonetization to claim that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi took “an ill-advised decision to wreak havoc with the economy, besides causing untold miseries on the people as not less than 125 deaths took place due to the pains caused by the step taken without the consultation of even the Cabinet”. The urgency on the parts of both the treasury and Opposition benches to turn the Lok Sabha into an arena of shadow-boxing with eyes set on UP polls was clearly evident, as the BJP MPs noisily disrupted Kharge’s barbs on demonetization even while the Prime Minister was seen seated in the House with rapt attention.
Hitting out at both the SP and BSP, Sharma charged them of playing the minority card to win polls at the cost of dividing the society. "Some netaji and behanji say Muslims mera hai (Muslims are with us),” he lamented. Seeking to bring the surgical strike to the forefront of the political discourse in the poll bound state, Sharma rued that the Opposition parties sought proof of the pre-emptive strikes against the terror camps in the PoK. “For the first time, rashtra bhakti ka saboot dena pada (proof of patriotism had to be given).It needs not only a 56-inch chest but also a beating heart along with firm commitment to take up developmental works under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Sharma, who in anticipation of the Opposition raking up demonetization claimed that “while the whole nation stood with the Prime Minister, the Opposition chose to be with the corrupt people”.
Launching sharpest attack on the Prime Minister, Kharge read out the comments of leading economists to claim that Modi took the decision on demonetization to divert the attention in the upcoming Assembly elections in which the people may have asked him about his promises of “putting Rs 15 lakh in their accounts” made during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. “The Prime Minister should at least apologise to the nation for the havoc caused by the demonetization decision and loss of lives. You can fool some of the people for some time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time," Kharge lashed out, while quoting Abraham Lincoln in his 90-minute long speech.
“The Prime Minister should at least apologise to the nation for the havoc caused by the demonetization decision and loss of lives. You can fool some of the people for some time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time," Kharge lashed out, while quoting Abraham Lincoln in his 90 minute long speech.